In 10 years’ time when all the koalas on the Tweed coast are extinct, will we look back and ask why?
Our council did habitat studies, planted koala trees, established wildlife corridors – even appointed a Koala Advisory Group (KAG). Millions of dollars were donated by state government to help protect this nationally threatened species. So what happened?
Buried deep in the archives of council’s meeting minutes will be the clue.
On 16 October 2014 four councillors (a majority) voted to allow hooning activity, dog attacks and multiple stressors to koalas by ignoring the advice of their KAG to lock the gate 24/7 to vehicular access to Black Rocks Sports Oval and by giving in-principle support of a Men’s Shed onsite instead of allowing revegetation recommended by top ecologists.
With barely 30 koalas left at Black Rocks out of an estimated coastal total of 110, it will only take two deaths per year to make the already critically endangered species locally extinct.
Who were these four councillors passing a death sentence on this important cell of coastal koalas?
It was the (National Party-aligned) councillors Carolyn Byrne, Warren Polglase, Phil Youngblutt together with Cr Barry Longland. All of them put human needs ahead of the koalas. None of them seem to have the slightest compassion for the welfare of koalas. Because of them, Tweed’s coastal koalas are doomed.
These councillors have collectively said, with their vote ‘To hell with the koalas! We don’t care if they become extinct from this area.’
The other councillors (Crs Michael Armstrong, Gary Bagnall and Katie Milne) valiantly fought for the koalas but alas, once again, were betrayed by Cr Longland who, ironically, claims to be environmentally friendly.
Remember those four councillors. Their grandkids and their progeny must carry the shame and sadness of this tragic day. Put their names on your fridge door so you can tell your grandkids why coastal koalas are gone.
Truly, we Australians don’t deserve to have these magnificent creatures. Tourists come from all over the world spending billions of dollars to delight in our koalas but we can’t even give them a lousy sports oval to ensure their survival because we are too damn selfish.
No wonder we are in the sixth mass extinction.
Menkit Prince, Uki